Saving a Life from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

MichelleAwardResearch shows that the survival rate for those suffering cardiac arrest outside the hospital is only 7%.1 HSLS reference librarian Michele Klein-Fedyshin, who earned her RN last year, used an automatic external defibrillator (AED), along with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), to assist in the rescue of a Pitt professor who suffered a cardiac arrest at the University Club gym on April 15, 2010. Klein-Fedyshin and Dave Nanz, the responding Pitt police officer, were awarded a certificate of recognition at the annual meeting of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) on October 8, 2010.

AEDs are life-saving equipment in arrest situations, along with CPR. The Pitt campus has placed AEDs in various locations around the campus, and Pitt police carry them in response to medical calls.2 HSLS is purchasing an AED to be placed in the Falk Library lobby. The time saved by having an AED nearby can translate into a life saved. Hopefully, it will never need to be used.

1National Center for Early Defibrillation.

2Kimberly K. Barlow, “Importance of AEDs Hits Home—Twice,” University Times, June 10, 2010.

~ Michele Klein-Fedyshin

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Civil War Post-Mortem Surgical Set

The library has no documents tracing the origin of the post-mortem surgical set found in our collection. How did it get here? Who donated it? To whom did it belong earlier? Though we don’t have the answers to these questions, we are grateful to the unknown benefactor who donated this precious artifact.

SurgicalSet1The instruments were produced by Hermann Hernstein & Son. There are three key factors that identify the set as belonging to the Civil War era: (1) the mark of H. Hernstein & Son, which was used from 1862 to 1865, when the company was selling directly to the military under contract; (2) Herstein & Son’s address from 1855 to 1867, 393 Broadway in New York City, is engraved on the instruments; and (3)SurgicalSet2 the wooden case contains a single sliding latch not found on any civilian instrument sets of the period.

The set is in almost perfect condition. It comes in the original wooden case with cast brass corners, a burgundy velvet lining, and a removable partition dividing two layers of instruments embossed with the Hernstein logo and eagle.

Inside the case are two layers of instruments. The upper compartment includes a chisel, a rachitome chisel, scissors, bowel scissors, a lifting back bone saw, dissecting forceps, and a blow-pipe used to inflate arteries. The bottom layer holds a costotome (hammer), a full set of scalpels, and a tenaculum with ivory handles, cartilage knives, and sutures with a curved heavy cloth holder for needles, suture thread, tissue forceps and retraction chain hooks in a small covered compartment.

We do not know whether the set was used during the Civil War or whether it came from the company’s surplus. Nearly all manufacturers over-produced at the end of the war, even though the U.S. Army cut military surgical set orders. The set is a beautiful piece of medical history located in the Rare Book Rooms at Falk Library. It can be viewed on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon–3 p.m., and other times by appointment.

~ Gosia Fort

HSLS Participates in National Cataloging Projects

In today’s online environment, libraries regularly share catalog records for their resources as a way to improve efficiency. HSLS has long been committed to creating high quality data for its resources, contributing this data to collective catalogs, and participating in cooperative initiatives. This fall, HSLS continues that tradition by participating in two new national endeavors.

CONSER, a cooperative serials cataloging organization, is undertaking a one-year project to create high-quality records for open access journals. Libraries often focus their cataloging efforts on subscription items, but freely-accessible journals have become increasingly significant for researchers and are often underrepresented in library catalogs and research tools. HSLS is one of 25 libraries, including the Library of Congress, participating in the project and contributes catalog records for open access journals in the health sciences. These records can then be used by other libraries in their online catalogs and behind the scenes in electronic resource management and access systems, integrating open access journals with the subscription-based journals already available from libraries.

HSLS is also participating in the national evaluation of a newly developed cataloging standard. Published in June 2010, Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a major revision to cataloging practice, incorporating new organizational theory and addressing the many new kinds of information tools and formats which were not around when the current standards (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed., 1978) were written. The national libraries of the United States (Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library) are currently undertaking a major test of these new guidelines to determine the impact on library workflows and online catalog retrieval. HSLS is among 14 institutions forming a secondary testing group, which will create sample records according to RDA guidelines, contribute them to a test database, and complete surveys about the process. The results of the different testing processes will be a key factor in American libraries’ decisions on whether or not to implement the new standard.

~Liping Song and Gretchen Maxeiner

Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Barbara Epstein, HSLS director, was appointed as co-chair-designate of the Future Leadership Committee of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL). The committee oversees mentoring and development programs for the next generation of health sciences library leaders.

Misti Kane has been promoted to collections and technical services specialist. Kane’s responsibilities include book ordering/receipt, copy cataloging of both print books and electronic journals, book repairs, withdrawals, and other database maintenance activities. She began working at HSLS in 1996.


Barb Folb, public health informationist and reference librarian, presented a talk “Information Practices of Disaster Preparedness Professionals in Multidisciplinary Groups” at the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Pittsburgh, PA on October 25, 2010.


Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian published “Dissertations/Theses” in the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 27(2): 425-6, 2010; “Recent Dissertations on Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Addiction History” in Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, 24(1): 37-8, 2010; and “Dissertations” in International Journal of Healthcare & Humanities, 5(5): 30-2, 2010.

HSLS Schedule of Classes January-February 2011

HSLS offers classes on database searching, software applications such as Adobe Photoshop, bibliographic management, molecular biology and genetics, and library orientations.  For more information visit the online course descriptions.

Classes are held on the first floor of Falk Library (200 Scaife Hall) in classroom 1 and conference room B, and on the second floor in the Computer and Media Center classroom 2. Some classes are also held in the conference room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries. All classes are open to faculty, staff and students of the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

No registration is required for any of these classes.  Seating for classes is first-come, first-served, until the class is full.  Classes marked with an asterisk (*) qualify for American Medical Association Category 2 continuing education credit.

Class schedules are subject to change.  Please consult the online class calendar for the most current information.


Introduction to HSLS Resources and Services at Falk Library
(Meet inside entrance to Library)
Friday, January 21                         1-2 p.m.
Offered upon request to groups or individuals. Call 412-648-8796.

Introduction to HSLS Services at UPMC Shadyside
Offered upon request to groups or individuals.  Call 412-623-2415.

Finding Full-Text Articles at UPMC Shadyside
Offered upon request to groups or individuals.  Call 412-623-2415.

PubMed Basics* (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Tuesday, January 18                      10-11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, February 15                    10-11:30 a.m.

Focus on Behavioral Medicine: Searching in PsycINFO* (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Tuesday, February 22                    10:30 a.m.-noon

Genome Browsers* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 12                 1-3 p.m.

Locating Gene/Protein Information* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 19                 1-3 p.m.

SNPs & Genetic Variation* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 26                1-3 p.m.

Cancer Informatics* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, February 2                 1-3 p.m.

Introduction to Vector NTI* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, February 9                 1-3 p.m.

Pathway Analysis Tools 1* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, February 16               1-3 p.m.

Pathway Analysis Tools 2* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, February 23               1-3 p.m.


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)
(Note: This class is usually full.  Please arrive 15 minutes in advance to ensure seating.)
Tuesday, January 11                       8:30-10:30 a.m.    (UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Thursday, January 13                     10 a.m.-noon         (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 26                  10 a.m.-noon         (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, February 10                    1-3 p.m.                (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Tuesday, February 22                     10 a.m.-noon         (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Adobe Photoshop for Beginners (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 12                  9-11  a.m.
Thursday, February 10                    9 -11 a.m.

PowerPoint for Beginners
Thursday, January 6                       9-11 a.m              (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, January 26                  9-11  a.m.            (UPMC Shadyside Libraries)

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, February 3                      9-11 a.m.

The WOW Factor: PowerPoint for Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, February 23                 9-11 a.m.

Lunch With A Librarian

These informal, brown-bag lunches are held in Falk Library Conference Room B. Bring your own lunch. Drinks and dessert are provided. For more information visit the online descriptions.

Search Clinic
Monday, February 7                        Noon-1 p.m.

Mobile MolBio: Apps for Scientists
Thursday, February 24                    Noon-1 p.m.


Searching for Nursing Articles Using CINAHL (UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Tuesday, February 15                     11:30 a.m. – 12:30  p.m.

Thursday @ Three HSLS UPMC Shadyside Libraries Information Series
These informal sessions are held in the Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries.

Writing Integrity in the Digital Age
Thursday, January 27                     3-4 p.m.

Advanced Google: Tips and Strategies for Getting More From Google
Thursday, February 24                    3-4 p.m.

Customized classes can be developed for your department, course, or other group.

These online tutorials provide information on getting started at HSLS, focusing on the Web site and popular resources.

Register Now for Mobile Computing Workshop on October 29

Mobile_ComputingPlease plan to attend the upcoming HSLS-sponsored Mobile Computing Workshop on Friday, October 29, 2010. Featured speakers include Dr. Roman M. Cibirka, vice president for Instruction and Enrollment Management and associate provost at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Cibirka has been internationally recognized for his achievements in mobile technologies, virtual simulation and game-based educational innovations. Other speakers are Iltifat Husain, founder and editor-in-chief of and UPMC’s Dr. Rasu B. Shrestha, medical director, Interoperability and Imaging Informatics. Afternoon break-out sessions are geared for both novice and expert users, with topics such as using HSLS’s mobile resources, mobile technology for dummies, and mobile applications that pertain to the field of molecular biology.

The event will be held on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Room S100, BST South. Registrants may attend one or all sessions as their schedules permit. There is no fee and CME credit will be available. Register online at your convenience.

~ Fran Yarger

The Value of Libraries Study is Coming to UPMC

HSLS is participating in the initial phase of a multi-site study of the use and value of library resources.  In the coming weeks, with the support of UPMC administrators, HSLS will be sending physicians, residents, and nurses an invitation to complete a brief online survey assessing the role of HSLS information resources in improving patient care.  The data collected in this confidential survey, as well as data gathered by other hospital and health sciences libraries across the country, will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between library information resources and the quality of patient care.  To participate in this survey, watch for messages in your UPMC e-mail account with the subject line “LIBRARY WEB SURVEY.”

This study has been approved by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board. The Principal Investigator is Mary Lou Klem, PhD. For more information about the study, contact Klem at 412-383-9947 or e-mail

~ Mary Lou Klem

Finding HSLS Using Connect@UPMC

Are you having trouble locating the HSLS link on Connect@UPMC?  To find the link, use Internet Explorer and login to Connect@UPMC using your UPMC account. You will be presented with a screen with several tabs across the top of the page, click on the Applications tab, and then on the Internet Explorer icon. The Infonet page will load. Click on Favorites, UPMC, and look down the list to Health Sciences Library. From there you’ll be presented with the front page of the HSLS Web site.

~ Nancy Tannery

Calling All Witches, Wizards and Muggles!

harry_exhibitHarry Potter and friends are coming to Falk Library next year when we will host a traveling exhibit titled Harry Potter’s World:  Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine.  The exhibit, produced by the National Library of Medicine, and coordinated by the American Library Association, uses materials from the historical collections of NLM to explore Harry Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance traditions.

Watch for announcements about programs and events planned in conjunction with the exhibit, which will be here from February 13 to March 26, 2011.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan and have ideas or suggestions for events or speakers, please share them on our Harry Potter comments tool.

To help you brush up on Harry’s adventures and wizarding education before the exhibit arrives, HSLS is sponsoring monthly Harry Potter movie nights in Scaife Hall Lecture Room 6.  Take a break from studying for free entertainment** on the second Monday of every month at 7 PM:

Monday, Oct. 11, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Monday, November 8, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Monday, December 13, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Monday, January 10, 2011:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Monday, February 14, 2011: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Monday, March 14, 2011: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

** Limited to those affiliated with University of Pittsburgh or UPMC; please bring your campus or UPMC ID.

~ Barbara Epstein

Directors Reflections…By the Numbers

Barbara EpsteinLibraries, by definition, are organized operations.  We try to keep track of everything we do.  We count our virtual and in-person visits, we count our loans, we count the number of reference questions received, and we count the number of educational sessions offered.  We analyze whether these numbers are going up or down, and we scratch our heads to figure out what it all means.

How has library use changed over the past decade?  For one thing, our annual “gate count” (in-person visitors) has declined by 31% – from 553,156 in 1999 to 381,820 in 2009.  We only started counting visits to our Web site a few years ago, but these have already zoomed up to more than 13 million page views annually.  Users borrowed 40% fewer print monographs in 2009 than in 1999; the likely explanation is that today we have hundreds of e-books and databases available to users from desktop computers or mobile devices.  These changes have led us to consider our Web site and electronic resources to be our “main branch.”

HSLS remains a leading national resource for interlibrary lending: we provided 26,032 articles in 1999.  By 2009, this number increased by 30% to 33,735, the largest number of loans provided by any academic health center library in the US or Canada.  During the same period, the number of articles we borrowed from other libraries decreased by 15% (from 3,811 to 3,223), demonstrating the strength of our collection in meeting your information needs.

We are doing much more teaching and instruction than we used to do.  In 1999, librarians taught 1,985 users in 183 classes or orientations.  This number more than quadrupled to 9,398 attendees at 458 educational sessions in 2009, while the number of total HSLS staff remained about the same.  Ten years ago, instruction was always face-to-face; last year, 6,185 library users took advantage of the 59 online tutorials accessible from our Web site.

Our ongoing statistical recordkeeping helps us to identify trends and potential problems.  Keeping track of our past and present stats is an indispensible part of planning for the future.

iPads Now Available at the CMC

iPadFalk Library’s Computer and Media Center (CMC) is now circulating ten Apple iPads.  The new iPads are smaller than a sheet of paper, lightweight, and completely touch-screen.  HSLS users can check out an iPad for up to four hours and may take an iPad outside of the library.  The iPads connect to the Pitt wireless network, so borrowers can browse the Web or access HSLS online resources from any Pitt building.   If you are interested in using this new and convenient mobile technology, please ask about borrowing an iPad at the CMC help desk on the Library’s mezzanine floor, or call the CMC help desk at 412-648-9109.

~ Fran Yarger

Accessing HSLS E-Resources through Google Scholar

Google Scholar now includes links to HSLS e-resources through our WebBridge link resolver.  WebBridge is a tool that provides links from an article citation to the full text of that article. Look for a Links @ Pitt-UPMC option on Google Scholar results. Clicking on this link will take you to WebBridge, which will have a link to the HSLS-licensed article. Note that the link will appear as plain text, rather than the familiar blue button with the same text as seen in PubMed, Ovid, and other databases. The link may appear either in the margin to the right of an article summary or directly underneath the article summary.

google scholar article

Links @ Pitt-UPMC should appear for all users accessing Google Scholar from a computer located on the University of Pittsburgh campus or at a UPMC facility.  Off campus users should access Scholar by first logging in remotely to either the Pitt or UPMC proxy server and then choosing the Google Scholar link from the HSLS database list to ensure that the links are displayed and that access to the licensed full-text e-resources will be available.

Google Scholar also includes links to the University Library System’s link resolver, which may lead to different e-resources than the HSLS link resolver.  These links are labeled Full-Text @ Pitt or Check Article Availability rather than Links @ Pitt-UPMC.  While both types of links will generally lead to e-resources licensed for both Pitt and UPMC patrons, researchers looking for health sciences-related information may prefer to use Links @ Pitt-UPMC, as these are supported by HSLS.

For questions, contact the Falk Library Main Desk at 412-648-8796 or email Ask A Librarian.

~ Geoffrey Spear

Personal Genomics and Personalized Medicine

The year 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the draft human genome sequence.  During the past decade, sequencing technology has vastly improved, thereby significantly decreasing the cost of sequencing an organism’s entire genome.  The initial project cost three billion dollars and 13 years of effort by several high-powered international laboratories.  Today the cost for sequencing a complete human genome is approximately $40,000.  In the not-too-distant future, one lab technician using one machine will be able to sequence a complete human genome in one day for $1,000 or less.

Empowered by these technological advances, scientists now have the ability to rapidly compare the genetic alphabets of groups of people that show a particular trait with those that don’t, and thus to identify genetic variations associated with a disease or condition. This effort has created a list of biomarkers linked to various diseases and conditions, such as smoking addiction or resistance to HIV/AIDS.  The availability of a rapidly growing list of genetic biomarkers, coupled with the rapidly decreasing cost of genome sequencing and genotyping, has given birth to two new fields—personal genomics and personalized medicine.

Direct-to-consumer genome retail companies, such as 23andMe, Navigenics, and deCODEME, offer the latest in genotyping technology to the general public for $500 to $2,000. Now anyone can order a kit online from one of these companies, spit into the provided tube, and send it back to the company’s lab for DNA analysis.  The results are available online within 6-8 weeks.

Access to your personal genome enables you to identify genetic risk factors or disease markers you may carry, as well as determine whether your children are susceptible to an inherited condition such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia.  Knowing your genetic predisposition for certain diseases or conditions can also help motivate you to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

The greatest promise of personal genome information is its potential to offer individualized drug treatment. People metabolize drugs at different rates; however, physicians often prescribe drugs and select dosages based on a “one-size fits all” paradigm.  Patients who metabolize a particular drug more slowly than others might need a lower dose and thus could experience adverse side effects if prescribed the standard dosage. Knowledge of your own genetic make-up will help you and your doctor choose the best medications at the dosage level that is the safest and most effective for you.

Despite the promise of personal genomics and personalized medicine for improving treatment practices and overall health, there is active debate within the medical profession and the public about the appropriateness of their use.  Modern science indicates that three components comprise our health conditions: our own genetic make-up, the genetic make-up of all the microbial organisms that live in our bodies, and interactions with our environment. Knowledge of one’s personal genome casts light onto only one-third of this equation, and therefore does not provide a complete picture of genetic risks.

Use of the personal genome also raises ethical concerns.  If someone has access to an individual’s genetic profile, it could affect decisions made regarding that person, such as denial of employment, disability insurance, or life insurance. The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 protects against discrimination by health insurers and employers on the basis of DNA information.

Considering both the benefits and risks of personal genomics and personalized medicine, it is important for everyone to educate themselves on these topics.  Two authoritative resources include the Personal Genome Project and the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

~ Ansuman Chattopadhyay and Carrie Iwema

Interns Gain Professional Experience at HSLS

HSLS welcomes two new interns from the University’s School of Information Sciences (iSchool) and the School of Medicine Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI).

iSchool Partners

The iSchool Partners Program is a scholarship program that offers students enrolled in the MLIS program opportunities to gain practical library experience. This year HSLS is hosting two Partners students:

Robin SencenbachRobin Sencenbach earned her BA in English, with a minor in history, at Allegheny College. While at Allegheny College, she interned at the library where she helped move and organize special collections materials during the library’s renovation. Sencenbach also volunteered at the Heinz History Center as a tour guide and intern to the curators. She is interning in the Technical Services Department at Falk Library.

Priya ShenoyPriya Shenoy received her BS in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Shenoy worked as a staff nurse on a cardiac floor at Georgetown University Hospital and as a public health nurse. As an undergraduate, she worked in the circulation department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library. Before deciding to pursue a career in library science, Shenoy shadowed librarians at the National Library of Medicine, George Washington University’s Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, and a public library. This past summer, she interned at Georgetown University’s Dahlgren Memorial Library, where she spent time in every department. Shenoy is interning in the Reference Department at Falk Library.

Biomedical Informatics Trainee

HSLS and DBMI offer a joint training program in health sciences librarianship and biomedical informatics, funded by the National Library of Medicine. This initiative is a year-long educational opportunity for individuals who have earned a Master of Library Science degree, and who have special interests or experience in health sciences librarianship and biomedical informatics.

Robyn ReedRobyn Reed, the 2010-2011 Trainee, earned a BS in medical technology and chemistry from SUNY Fredonia, an MS in pharmacology from SUNY Buffalo, and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Reed decided to pursue a career in bioinformatics because she’s interested in how computer applications can be utilized to disseminate pertinent information to specific populations.  Last summer, Reed completed a consumer health field placement at UPMC Shadyside’s Hopwood Library. She is currently working with Dr. Titus Schleyer in the School of Dental Medicine on a dental informatics project. Reed will spend time in both the Falk Library Reference Department and the Molecular Biology Information Service.

~ Jill Foust